Who Needs DOT HAZMAT Training?


U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Hazardous Materials Regulation (HMR), 49 CFR 172.704- Subpart H, also known as HM -181, requires training for any individuals who handle, manage, transport, or ship hazardous materials or waste. Hazardous materials include chemicals, toxins and pollutants. They also include any hazardous substances and hazardous wastes as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as materials that are sensitive to shock or temperature.


HAZMAT Training Overview

More specifically, training is required for any employee who:

  1. Loads, unloads, or handles hazardous materials or hazardous waste.
  2. Manufactures, tests, reconditions, repairs, modifies, marks, or otherwise represents containers, drums, or packages as qualified for use in the transportation of hazardous materials or hazardous waste.
  3. Prepares any hazardous materials or hazardous waste for transportation.
  4. Is responsible for the safety of transporting hazardous materials or hazardous waste.
  5. Operates a vehicle used in the transportation of hazardous materials or hazardous waste.


You can find the Electronic Code of Regulations for US DOT Title 49 online.


Initial Training

New HAZMAT employees or employees who change job functions must compete DOT training within 90 days. However, employees can perform new hazardous job materials functions prior to completing training if they are working under the supervision of a properly trained HAZMAT employee. Training must be carried out in accordance with the Hazardous Materials Regulation, and every person who performs a function related to the HMR must be trained and tested. All HAZMAT employees must also receive security awareness training.


This widely utilized and recognized course is typically delivered within one day/eight hours and covers information on topics such as hazardous material tables, hazard classifications, placards, labels, hazardous waste manifests, and security awareness, then concludes with knowledge testing.


Section 172.704 states that HAZMAT training shall include:


1. General awareness/familiarization training- Provides familiarity with the general requirements of the Hazardous Materials regulations (HMR) and enables the employee to recognize and identify hazardous materials. This training will provide a basic understanding of:

  • Identification of hazardous materials
  • Hazard classification system
  • Hazardous materials table
  • Packaging
  • Markings and labels
  • Placards
  • Shipping papers
  • Segregation
  • Understanding of HMR training requirements
  • Requirements for incident reporting
  • Security


2. Function-specific training- Provides a detailed explanation of HMR requirements to be adhered to and performed by the employee. Training will differ according to the employee’s responsibilities and company needs.


3. Safety training- Covers the dangers presented by the handling of hazardous materials, the emergency response to hazardous materials, and accident avoidance.


4. Security awareness training- Addresses the security risks involved with the transportation of hazardous materials and discusses the methods of recognizing and responding to potential security threats.


5. In-depth security training- Outlines a company’s security plan including security objectives, procedures, employee responsibilities, actions to take in the event of a security breach, and the company’s security structure. This training is only necessary for employees who may handle or perform regulated functions related to the transportation of materials covered by the security plan or who may be responsible for implementing the company security plan.


Recurrent Training

All HAZMAT employees must undergo DOT training at least once every three years. It is important to point out that the entire course must be completed in full every three years. Currently, there is no shorter duration refresher course that meets the requirement.


Workers who require DOT HAZMAT training or employers seeking to enroll their employees in training can register with National Environmental Trainers. There are no prerequisites for the course, and groups and individuals can complete this training at their convenience.